Local missing person cold case gets new exposure


On the night of May 9, 1994, Cleashindra Hall was an 18-year-old senior at Watson Chapel High School two weeks away from graduation.

Hall failed to return home from her after-school job on that evening nearly 18 years ago and joined the ranks of the missing.

“It’s been 18 years since she’s been missing; the same number of years she was was old,” Hall’s mother Laurell Hall, said Tuesday.

A new television series entitled “Find Our Missing,” created by Towers Productions for the TV One cable network, will feature the disappearance of Cleashindra Hall in an episode airing Wednesday evening.

Laurell Hall is anxious to see the show and hopeful that it will lead to some word on what happened to her daughter all of those years ago.

“I’m nervous about the program,” Laurell Hall said. “We are hoping and praying that somebody will come forward with information.”

Laurell Hall said that the producers conducted on-camera interviews with her as well as with her husband Willie Hall, son, Willie Hall II, and a friend of her daughter’s.

“In light of the fact that so much time has passed, it is good to be getting some more attention to the story,” Laurell Hall said. “Maybe as people who may know something have aged, their hearts have melted and maybe now they will talk. I hope that maybe people will look at the story and send me an anonymous note or something like that with information.”

“We are still asking that if somebody has any information to call us or the Pine Bluff Police Department Detective Division to give us some information,” Laurell Hall said.

The mother said that she is looking forward to viewing the program.

“I haven’t seen the finished product yet,” Laurell Hall said. “I’ll be watching it with my family and friends.”

The show

Donna Wilson, co-executive producer of the series, said that the shows, which focus on missing African Americans, are intended to bring a renewed focus to real human stories.

“We want to shed light on these cases,” Wilson said. “Our charge is to help people find their loved ones. We want people to be able to see their loved ones again or at least give them closure. Many times local law enforcement are actively working cases but the national media may not cover some cases as broadly as other cases.”

Wilson said that one of the features of the program is a call to action.

“We show a picture of the missing person with their date of birth, the date they were last seen and the local law enforcement telephone number,” Wilson said.

Wilson said that the show uses on-camera interviews, dramatic re-enactments and a biographical segment to tell the story of each missing person featured on the show.

“We go to these places and get to see the homes and places where these people have been,” Wilson said. “The families are so cooperative in lending us photos. It lets the viewers get to know who we are talking about.”

“S. Epatha Merkerson hosts it,” Wilson said. “People easily recognize her from her many years starring in Law & Order. The great thing is she is engaged in the show. She is not only interested in the stories but also in bringing these people back home. She wants to use her celebrity for a good cause. People respond to the familiarity they have with her. She urges viewers to call if they have any information about the case.”

Wilson said that the series began airing in January.

“We went into production last fall,” Wilson said. “We have 10 shows. They generally have two stories in them but two of the 10 devote full hours to one story.”

Wilson said that the episode with Hall will also feature another missing person case.

Viewing options

The program featuring the Cleashindra Hall case will air on the TV One network at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

TV One can be seen on satellite television providers DIRECTV, Dish Network as well as on Comcast Cable.

Starting on Thursday, viewers may watch the episode on the network’s website at http://tvone.tv/.